A Mixed Bag for the SD Housing Market

Since we are heading into the third month of the year, I thought we should discuss the “Elusive Shadow Inventory” that everybody has been talking about for at least a year.

According to Schiller data, home builders are re-openning or start new projects across the county.  There were eight new projects started in San Diego last month.  The county showed home prices that were 2.7% higher at the end of 2009 than they were in 2008.  That all being said there are not a lot of homes for sale right now.  The overall number of homes sold dropped 28% !  Where’s the inventory??  With 1/3 of San Diego homeowners currently underwater in their mortgages, that’s over 200,000 properties that should be, but are not, on the market!

According to the MLS , there are currently 9,243 homes actively for sale in San Diego County.  But there are also 7,260 homeowners who have recieved at least one default notice, and another 10,221 homes headed for the auction block.  Of these 17,500 homes, none have gone back to the bank as of yet!

What does that mean to San Diego’s housing market? This market could go anywhere in the next quarter.  It’s hard to know for certain what is going to happen.  With such a large inventory that is unknown, it is anybody’s guess as to what we’re heading for!  I think it will depend on how many homeowners will get their loans modified, or just end up with a short sale or foreclosure.  I feel that with so many people having no equity in their homes, these people will lean towards short sale/foreclosure versus modifying a loan and hanging on to something that will take years to get back in the black. This will result in a large number of houses on the market.

As always, I welcome your thoughts on this…

Short Sales or Modifications

I was a little stumped on what to write about today, however, something has been bothering me so I though I would share…  I meet with my tax accountant the other day and we got into the discussion of real estate, which happens a lot to me.  He mentioned that we are going to see more foreclosures and short sales in the next two years than we’ve seen over the past two years.  This was not the first time I’ve heard this!  Why would that be? The problem is that there are a large number of adjustable loans coming in to their adjusment period over the next two years. A lot of these homeowners have already lost a lot of their home’s value, and now have less incentive to modify their loans. The prediction is that a lot of these homeowners will face foreclosure or short sale their properties.

As I sit in my office, I wonder what will happen to the real estate market…  Will we see that “W” that everybody has been talking about?  Or will the market stay flat?

Let me know if you have any thoughts on the next two years in the real estate market.

FDIC and OneWest Bank Loan Modifications

I saw this clip the other day on the internet on how the FDIC is handling the losses on one bank…  According to this clip, the FDIC bailed out IndyMac and shut its doors back in July of 2008.  In March of 2009, the FDIC sold all the bad loans to OneWest Bank for 70% of their value and HELOC’s (helocs are lines of credit) at 50% of their value.

When watching this video, my blood begin to boil! This is the same public rip-off that we have been watching for years.  Whether we have a republican/democrat in office, it’s all the same old story! OneWest Bank is owned by private investors with ties to the US treasury department.  This means they did not have to sign up for the loan modification program that Obama passed a few months back — that program helps consumers in danger of foreclosure by modifying the terms of their loan.  OneWest Bank has no incentive to help homeowners, and in fact, it has a lot of incentive to foreclose on the homeowners. 

Here is a link to the article I am referencing:  http://www.thinkbigworksmall.com/mypage/archive/1/32274.  Please watch the video, read the blogs, and tell me what you think.  I just don’t understand how we can get the housing market back on track if we don’t get the government out of the housing market.

Carlsbad Aviara Oaks Elementary Fire

On my way to show some homes yesterday in Carlsbad, I heard about this fire.  I was very suprised to learn this was arson.  At 1:30am on February 1st, somebody started a fire in the teacher’s lounge.  The school managed to resume all classes that day, but what a heartbreak.  As a local of North County this really upsets me.  Who would want to set fire to a elementary school? 

We are currently in a recession and our schools are losing funds everyday.  These teachers work hard and try to educate our kids, so why would you burn down their teacher’s lounge.  I think people need to re-think their actions. 

I just want to say thank you to the Carlsbad Firefighters and their quick response.  They managed to keep the fire contained to the one building and school was not canceled. 

I have a hard time with acts of vandalizm.  I hope they catch these people!

Foreclosures

I’ve been talking with a lot of people in this industry over the past couple months and nobody seems to know whether the banks are going to release the REO’s all at once, or slowly release them.  The big concern in the industry is if they release them in a big clump, we could see a drop in real estate prices.  I believe this is in the back of everybody’s minds right now. 

If you buy a home now will you lose value in the next six months?  I don’t think anybody can predict this. It’s likely, however, that any amount a newly purchased home drops will be offset by the interest rate that is currently being offered. So it probably will be a wash. 

It’s going to be an interesting 1st and 2nd quarter this year. 

If you have any thoughts on this subject, share them with me! I’d be happy to respond.

$6500 Tax Credit for Repeat Buyers

If you’ve been waiting to buy a home until you know you can get the Repeat Buyer Tax Credit, Washington DC has finally put together the documentation needed for  your 2009 taxes.  If you are not sure how the credit works, or whether you qualify, here is brief over view…

If you’ve been living in your primary residence for any five consecutive years over the last eight years, you should quyalify to recieve the credit.  However, there are limits on income and the purchase price of the home.  The maximum amout a home can cost is $800,000.  You are not required to sell your current home, but the home you are buying to get the credit must be your new primary residence.  Income limits are as follows: your modified gross income must be $125,000 or less if you are single, $225,000 or less if you are married and filing jointly.  If you exceed these limits, the allowable credit amount begins to scale down in increments, and the maximum you can make to get any credit if you’re single is $145,000, and $245,000 if you’re married filing jointly.

What documentation you will need to get the credit in your 2009 – 2010 tax returns? The list includes:

  1. A copy of the signed HUD-1 settlement sheet, including contract sale price and date of closing, this is used to document when the home was purchased.
  2. Evidence of long term ownership and occupancy of your current house to meet the five year requirement.  This can be proven by showing reciepts of property taxes or utility bills with the purchaser’s name and address on them.
  3. This tax credit does not have to be repaid unless you sell your home within three years, the home is foreclosed on, or the property changes from a primary residence to a rental or business property.
  4. The IRS has published the 5045 Form needed to file with your property tax.  You can get this form on the IRS website, www.irs.gov.  Note: This form may not be on Turbo tax yet.

If you are thinking about upgrading your home, or moving to another area, you better hurry to get this credit.  You have to be in contract by April 30th and the deal has to close by the end of June.

Median Home Prices Show First Increase Since 2006

MEDIAN HOME PRICES SHOW FIRST INCREASE SINCE 2006

 San Diego County showed their first year increase since June of 2006, according to DataQuick yesterday.  It wasn’t a big increase however it was significant enough to show we might be at a turning point in the real estate market.

  “It’s a reflection of a market that has stabilized in many areas”. DataQuick analyst

 The overall median home price went from $350,000 to $360,000 a change of +2.9%.  We have seen a drop in prices over the past 13 months so this is very strong indicator of things to change.  Many analysts feel the government involvement has helped buyer/investors join the market, with all time lower interest rates, FHA insured loans, and the treasury department taking over Freddie mac and Fannie mae.  They have also just extended the homebuyer credit for another six months which could help the market keep its pace. 

 The one concern many analyst have is who is driving the market.  The majority of sales (36%) have involved homes foreclosed on in the previous 12 months, dataquick said.  This has become a sellers market for certain types of product in certain locations.  What would help the market even more is sales activity in higher-priced neighborhoods.  Transactions have remained low since sellers have not reduced enough and financing can be difficult in these price ranges.  If we do not see a new wave of foreclosures flood the market due to loans going bad and some movement in the higher end home prices we should be able to maintain a stabilized market.

 The overall housing picture appears to be turning around.  We have turned some major corner with increase of sales and home prices increasing slightly.  If the interest rates stay low and the supply stays steady we should see this market continue to climb